04/23/2011 12:14PM

Chasing the Rainbow


1:15 pm: Late scratches have reduced the universe of possible Rainbow 6 combinations from 2.4 million to 1.2 million, but may have made the sequence tougher since the scratches include the morning-line favorites in the first two legs of the bet.

A sequence that had been composed of five 12-horse fields and one of 10 now consists of three 12-horse fields, one of 11 and two of 8, a reduction of possible permutations from 2,488,320 to a mere 1,216,512. The opening leg in particular, however, may have gotten trickier with the defection of 8-5 ML favorite Game On. He was no cinch off three straight seconds as the odds-on favorite, but his Beyers in those races were all higher than anyone else in the field has approahed on dirt. There is no standout among the 11 remaining runners, who are a combined 0 for 54.

Your guess is as good as mine as to what the pool might be at the close of betting, currently scheduled to be 4:15 ET. Estimates have ranged anywhere from doubling to quadrupling the $1.4 million carryover. As discussed in today's column, the 10-cent minimum gives players 20 times their usual Pick-6 buying power -- a $96 investor usually gets 48 combinations at $2 apiece but today gets 960 10-cent combos for the same investment.

I'm still struggling with how much to put in myself. My personal limit for pick-6's is $5,000 and that's only on the Breeders' Cup; buying that same number of combinations today would cost me only $250. On the other hand, I've put $1,000 to $1,500 into carryovers a quarter the size of this one. It's impossible to gauge what a relatively chalky sequence might return. If there's $3 million to be paid out to the 6-of-6 winners and 1,000 people have it, it still pays $3,000. If 100 people have it, it pays $30k.

Stratgeically, I'll use the same ABC methodology I usually do rather than leveraging the dime unit to make one big wooden club of a caveman ticket. Here's why: In a race like the 9th (the third leg), there's a heavy favoprite in second-time starter Zero Rate Policy, but at least four plausible alternatives if he falters. Goin five-deep on one big ticket means you're running only 20 percent of your money through a horse who seems at least 50 percent to win. I'd prefer to run at least half my play through him rather than spending 80 percent of my total investment trying to beat him.

There's also a mandatory Pick-6 payout today at Aqueduct, where it's cold and rainy. That one starts about an hour before the Rainbow 6 with the 5th race at 3:07 pm. It's (finally) Closing Day at Aqueduct, after which NYRA goes dark for five days until Belmont opens April 29.

I'll be back around 3 with a cheat-sheet on the Rainbow 6 races. It's not easy but it should be fun.


3:03 pm: Here's my spreadsheet for the Rainbow 6 races, which seem to look harder the longer I look at them. With about an hour to go, I still haven't figured out my ABC's beyond the first leg, but perhaps my notes will prove helpful.



4:05 pm: Here we go. I just made 17,733 bets, which came out to $1,773.30 at a dime a combo. It's pretty much a traditional ABC kind of play, with one exception: If Zero Rate Policy wins the 9th, I can have unlimited B's in the other races. I singled him on an $840 ticket that went 6x7x1x5x5x8.

Oh, and I used every single horse in the sequence as at least a C. They were so cheap ($9 to $27 per horse) that I wanted to duck a 5A/1x kind of result.

With the horses very slowly moving towards the starting gate, they're saying there's already over $4.8 million in the pool.


4:30 pm: A fine start as Captain Crench ($10.40), third choice and longest of my three A's at 4-1, rallied from last to run down 9-5 fave Indian Fog (only a B) and 2-1 Marias Pass to win the opening leg.

Kind of assuming the first three finishers were bet equally in the Rainbow 6. Alive on 9 of my 11 tickets.


5:00 pm: Another A at 4-1 as one-time juvenile star Notonthesamepage , making his second start off a two-year layoff and his first for Jamie Ness, ran down 14-1 Knight Shot to win an N3L turf sprint for $20k claimers. Notonthesamepage, who earned a 104 Beyer in his maiden victory at Churchill Downs and a 113 winning the 2009 Spectacular Bid at Gulfstream, was off for 25 months following a 7th in Quality Road's Fountain of Youth, and was claimed from his return for $15k.

Pleasantly surprised to have gotten through the first two races with A's, but now comes my lynchpin race. Zero Rate Policy opened the 3-2 favorite but there's a lot of early support for the Lisa Lewis-trained firster Hebert Hall at 2-1.


5:10 pm: My tickets came out $54 short of what I thought they would and I just figured out how: I somehow left Christiesborntorun off the AABAAA, so nothing personal but I'm seriously rooting against him. He's currently the third choice at 7-2.


5:30 pm: Zero Rate Policy, banged late to 7-10, was a comfortable winner in 1:09.28 but firster Hebert Hall and stuck-inside Christieborntorun both ran well behind him to be second and third.

Leaves me alive on four tickets including the big one, with a total of 327 live combos:

2,6,8,9,10/1,3,8,11,12/1,5,6,9,10,11,12,13 (5x5x8, Main)

3,11,12/1,3,8,11,12/9,10,12 (3x5x3, AAACAA)

6,9/2,4,5,6,7,9,13/9,10,12 (2x7x3, AAAACA)

6,9/1,3,8,11,12/2,3,4,7 (2x5x4, AAAAAC)


6:00 pm: Performing (#9), 7-2 ML and the 9-5 fave at post time, ran another big one and continued what's turning into a chalky sequence. If I can get the 1,3,8,11 or 12 home in the upcoming 11th, I've got them all in the finale; otherwise, I'll be alive to just three of them.


6:30 pm: Yay, I think. With second choice 3-1 Hariolus getting through on the rail to win the 11th, I've got them all in the finale, but have no idea just how low the payoff might be with another chalky result. Let's go longshots!


6:40 pm: Still haven't seen any willpays, and only two of the dozen in the nightcap are more than 11-1: Poppin's Pride and Essence of Faith, who were my only two throwouts before I added them in for just $9 apiece (3x3x1x2x5x2=180 x $0.10 = $18). I still can't make either one, but I'll be rooting.


6:45 pm: Thank heavens for commenters. Reader "Dazzo" has posted the willpays below, and it looks like I won't get my money back with the three favorites including a $745 payoff with favored Diaper Dandy and $843 with second-choice Sassidy. Ick. The only ones paying over $10k are with Poppin's Pride ($33k) and Essence of Faith ($45k).


7:00 pm: Rachel's Girl (10-1) nipped Misia Luisa (6-1) and Shahadaroba (8-1) to spare me the supreme embrassment of hitting this thing and losing money. Instead, I almost got even money by turning $1,773.30 into $3,279. Woohoo.

All good fun, and if you hit it and are feeling grumpy, think of it this way: Multiply the 10-cent payoff by 20, and this was, in conventional Pick-6 terms, a $65,580 for $2 payoff -- about five times the parlay for 4-1, 4-1, 3-5, 9-5, 3-1 and 10-1.